Andy Murray given tough test by Xavier Malisse at Queen's

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport

Andy Murray came through a testing start to his grass-court season with a three-set win over Belgium's Xavier Malisse at the Aegon Championships.

The British number one had to endure a rain delay of slightly more than an hour after securing an early break, and held off a resurgent Malisse to win 6-3 5-7 6-3 at Queen's Club.

There was no negative reaction from the right ankle injury that Murray picked up at the French Open and he will next face 14th seed Janko Tipsarevic, who beat Michael Russell 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5).

On a damp, blustery day in west London, the Scot raced into an early lead after Malisse double-faulted on break point in game two, only for the rain to halt his progress after only 11 minutes.

When play resumed soon after 1700 BST with the score at 3-1, 15-15, Murray immediately fell two break points down but got out of trouble with an ace and a Malisse error, and he went on to see out the set comfortably.

Serve dominated the second set, with Murray successfully following into the net on a couple of occasions and the Briton looked ready to close out the match when he earned three break points at 5-5.

However, he failed to make two returns, either side of a blistering Malisse forehand down the line, and the 30-year-old Belgian made him pay by breaking in the following game to level at one set all.

Murray was now in the kind of battle he had hoped to avoid in his opening match, but the world number four made an early breakthrough in the decider, helped out by three forehand errors from Malisse.

The Belgian went close to drawing level in game six with a couple of break points but Murray came up with a big serve and another impressive serve-volley, and Malisse struck a backhand into the net on the first match point as he was broken one final time.

With the weather still looking threatening overhead, the second seed was happy to wrap things up in one hour and 48 minutes.

"It was tricky," Murray told BBC Sport. "The court is playing very, very slow for a grass court, there were quite a lot of rallies.

"I had a little chance at the end of the second set, didn't take it, and obviously he got back into it and started playing better but I managed to turn it around in the end."

He added: "The ankle was alright, a little bit sore at times, I've just got to get used to the new surface. It's getting better every day."